The MPA Monitoring Enterprise, a program of the California Ocean Science Trust, was tasked with developing and implementing monitoring of California’s emerging statewide MPA network. Although climate change was not explicitly incorporated into the goals and objectives of California’s MPAs, the Monitoring Enterprise recognized that future evaluations of MPA performance would occur in the context of a changing climate. Early warning signals and recommendations for monitoring resilience to climate change have been developed for coral reefs, however, comparatively little guidance exists for developing feasible approaches to monitor climate change effects in temperate marine ecosystems.
In response to this challenge, the Monitoring Enterprise and EcoAdapt hosted a two-hour focus group on monitoring resilience to climate change in temperate marine ecosystems. The Monitoring Enterprise also recruited EcoAdapt to develop a framework for climate change monitoring in temperate systems. The focus group, held during the 2011 IMCC conference in Victoria, British Columbia, included discussions on characteristics of nearshore rocky marine environments, likely climate change impacts to these ecosystems, aspects of climate change already incorporated into MPA monitoring, and aspects that should be monitored in light of climate change.
Following the focus group, EcoAdapt developed a framework for augmenting MPA monitoring efforts to improve understanding of climate change effects and increase the effectiveness of adaptive MPA management in the face of changing conditions. This framework included tracking climate change effects on habitats and species, understanding the effects on MPA performance, and evaluating climate change adaptation measures.